John Morris ran into one of the hottest curlers on the Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling tour.
Niklas Edin of Sweden, a two-time Slam event winner this season, scored a 7-4 win over Morris and his Vernon/Kelowna rink in Saturday’s semifinal at the $100,000 Meridian Canadian Open in North Battleford, Sask.
Morris, who pocketed $12,000, took a 4-3 lead into the fourth-end break by picking up three with the hammer.
After a blank end in five, Edin took the lead with a deuce in six, then stole single points in seven and eight to advance to the final, where he lost 8-3 to Brad Gushue of St. John’s, NL.
Gushue qualified for the final with a 4-0 win over Brad Jacobs of Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.
Morris, backed by Jim Cotter of Vernon throwing skip rocks, and the front end of Tyrel Griffith of Kelowna and Vernon’s Rick Sawatsky, opened the playoff round with a 7-1 win over John Shuster of Duluth, Minn.
The Okanagan rink, which qualified for the playoffs of the triple-knockout event from the B event, scored a pair in the second end, stretched their lead to 3-1 with a single in the fifth and forced the Americans into handshakes with a steal of four in the sixth end.
“It was one of our best events, probably our best of the season,” said Cotter. “With every event, we keep getting better and better and that’s what we want to be doing. We’ve all played with Johnny before and it’s just a case of everybody getting to know one another again.”
Cotter and company take a week off before heading to Arizona for the Ed Werenich Golden Wrench Classic, Jan. 19-22, at the Coyotes Curling Club in Scottsdale. There is a field of 20 rinks chasing $16,000.
“We should have time to get a round of golf in,” beamed Cotter.